Learning Problems and Developmental Delay: German [UPDATE]
The tall young man with the engaging smile stepped forth in the Valentine Auditorium to speak with the parents attending the What To do About Your Brain-Injured Child course. German and his parents had arrived on a hot June day to visit the staff and see the families.
Fifteen year-old German lights up when describing his life and his love of math, languages, athletics and spending time with his friends. Five years after graduating from the Intensive Treatment Program , German continues to be an outstanding student at a challenging school. His parents are extremely proud of his achievements and are confident that he will succeed in life.
After losing her first baby, mother learned that she had a severe thyroid problem, and a blood incompatibility. Eighteen months later, a second baby was conceived. Ultrasounds were planned monthly to monitor the baby’s progress. Although doing her best to maintain her health, Mother contracted a viral infection in the first trimester. In the eighth month of pregnancy, a Cesarean section delivery was scheduled due to the baby’s breech position. Mother underwent injections to help the baby’s lung mature for the early delivery.
One day prior to delivery, the baby had an irregular heartbeat and fetal distress. At birth, the baby had the umbilical cord wrapped twice around his neck. He was a small and quiet baby. Mother was advised to place the baby on his back, and for months he lay immobile.
When the baby was 7 months of age, Mother attended The Institutes How To Multiply Your Baby’s Intelligence Course. She learned the great value of placing her baby on his belly, and soon he was crawling and creeping, and then walking.
At two years of age, the little boy had typhoid with a high fever. He had frequent colds and was given antibiotics repeatedly. He suffered from numerous allergies, asthma, and bronchitis. He was placed on the steroid cortisone to open his blocked airways in emergencies.
While in pre-school at three years of age, he stood apart from the other children. He played alone and did not respond to verbal directions.
“I was in denial about my child. He could speak German, Spanish, and English but he was absent from life. When other children tried to hit the piñata at a party German did not participate. It broke my heart to watch.”
At seven years of age, his mother describes her son: “It is difficult for him to follow orders and to pay attention to the teacher’s instructions. When the other children are writing or drawing, his paper is blank. While the other children are paying attention to the teacher; he switches off. When the teacher asks questions, he never answers. He avoids any kind of manual activity; he hates writing. He has problems understanding numbers and mathematics. He fails at games due to his inability to concentrate, and he tires very easily. It is very difficult for the teachers to understand his problems.
“He is hypersensitive to touch, smell, and taste. He washes his hands all the time to rid himself of anything that touches them. He does not like to be hugged, and asks for the tags in his clothing to be removed. Sounds bother him and he complains about voices and crowds, and covers his ears. He sleeps poorly, and is very irritable. He does not chew well, even at his age. He often covers one eye, and he cannot decide which hand to use to eat or use scissors.
“For me, it is as if the sun were totally eclipsed by the moon; his capability is blocked. He is interested in many things and wants to learn them, but he cannot get focused. Our son needs help desperately.”
After attending The Institutes What To Do About Your Brain-Injured Child Course, the parents learned that their son had a moderate, diffuse, bilateral, cortex and midbrain injury. The family immediately embarked upon the Intensive Treatment Program with their boy.
After one year of his home program German was a different boy
German brachiates as part of his physical program at home.
After one year of home treatment, their son was enjoying perfect health. He followed a highly nutritious diet very responsibly, and no longer had stomach problems or frequent respiratory infections.
German shows off his tough “brachiator hands.”
He was crawling in a perfect cross pattern and running three kilometers daily, and he had learned to brachiate independently. He had become proficient in gymnastics.
Now he was a full year ahead of his peers in mathematics, reading books for ten-year-olds, interacting well with his peers, and becoming an outstanding violin student
A year previously, he had trouble counting in sequence, but now he was a full year ahead of his peers in mathematics. At eight years of age, he was reading books for ten-year-olds. He was interacting well with his peers, and had become an outstanding student on the violin.
A year earlier, he wrote slowly and illegibly, and hated to write. Now he was carrying a notebook throughout the day to jot down ideas for his creative writing. He wrote, typed, and edited a book of science fiction ten chapters long, completely independently. He greatly enjoyed every minute of doing so.
Soon he was ready to return to the private school for advanced studies
Another special project was to build a 1500 piece robot with Legos, which again he did independently, following the written instructions.
He graduated from his home program and re-entered his challenging private school for advanced studies.
A proud day: Mother, father, grandparents, and Susan Aisen congratulate German on graduation from the program
The young student who could not focus, did not answer, could not count, and hated to write was now replaced by a bright, enthusiastic, and highly successful one, the same boy but now able to use his abilities to their fullest.
His teachers reported: “He has become a finalist in a writing contest, he has demonstrated a fine understanding of scientific facts and he shows creativity and works well with others.”
A year after graduating from the program, German wins the top place in a golf tournament.
During the school year, his teachers reported:
“He is imaginative in writing. He wrote a mystery story that I found very interesting; it was very fluent and logical. He has recently become a finalist in a writing contest.”
“He shows a lot of curiosity while conducting experiments, and he has demonstrated a fine understanding of scientific facts. He shows creativity and works well with others. He is a knowledgeable student who often contributes to class discussions.”
Now he is the most advanced reader in his class.
Karate is yet another happy pursuit for German.
The young student who turned in blank pages now achieved perfect scores in exams of geography and history. On his homework project checklist, the highest score being 100, he received a 103, with a bonus for excellence.
Mother was recently asked by the English teacher “Did your son tell you the good news? According to the test, he is the most advanced reader in the class. He will now be promoted three levels. There is only one more level to the top, and then he will read novels by Charles Dickens and others. He is well above his age level.”
“I wondered why my son had the problems he had. He is now healthy, strong, and happy, too. There is not a single day that we do not feel gratitude.”
Another interest of German, the Renaissance man: Painting.
Mother adds, “…and English is his third language! You always say you are the luckiest people on earth doing the job you do with the all the families you love. I think we are even luckier because we met you and could take part. At the beginning, I wondered why my son had the problems he had. Now I know it was to give us the opportunity to help him. He is now healthy, strong, and happy, too. There is not a single day that we do not feel gratitude.”
German and father-together they have climbed a large mountain to do a successful program. Here they are on yet another mountain – it’s all easy now.
At 16, German is eligible to apply for enrollment in Oxford or Cambridge University
When German was 16 years old, Mother brought us up-to-date: “He got top marks on the IGCSE examinations. With these scores, he is eligible to apply for enrollment in Oxford or Cambridge University in two years. He told me he hasn’t decided if he would like to do so, or not yet!”
Now German is 18 years old and mother tells us: “At the moment we are in Vienna and apparently German is going to study engineering here at the TU (Technological University). I am very happy to share with you that German did very well at the International Baccalaureate with a 6 in higher-level physics (only 3 points from a 7).”
We know that German will continue to excel and will one day make his mark in the world. In a sense, he already has made his mark. In his short life, he has traveled a distance that many would have thought impossible. Yes, with the help of his wonderful family but very much based upon his own effort, his own determination and his own courage to stand up and fight for his future.
We salute German and his wonderful family for never giving up, for finding the answer, and for giving every parent diagnosed with developmental delay the hope that their child can have a full and wonderful life.